Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Brand New Pair of Eyes

If you only had five days to give a good friend who lives in a different country a taste of your life, what would you do?
My task was complicated by the fact she’d already booked a week-long tour to pick up a bunch of highlights of the UK. All places I would have chosen to take Hannah and her husband: Stonehenge, Stratford Upon Avon, Edinburgh, and London.

There was no question in my mind but that the first place would be Warwick castle. Being brought up with the trees in these majestic grounds overlooking our back garden, (with the occasional peacock flying over the walls), it was a natural choice. The fact my daughter works in the dungeons there, scaring people half to death, had nothing to do with it. And the chance to eat medieval fayre, and sleep in a knight's lodge in the castle grounds, could not be missed.

I am looking forward to showing off a couple of places very dear to me: Avebury henge (which is even bigger than Stonehenge and you can actually touch the stones), at least one of the white horses carved into the hillside around Avebury, hopefully with the opportunity to stand inside the oldest of them all, at Uffington. And if we have time, a short drive around Oxford; it's too cold to go punting on the Cherwell, but we may be able to pop into a college or two.

Another day spent in pursuit of history, checking out Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom, experiencing the Coventry blitz in an air-raid shelter, and seeing the one-time world's fastest car, although maybe not being able to touch it. So cool to have so many choices within a short drive of where I live, but is that really me?

I think the bit which might make the most impression on my guests is experiencing life in a British home, so I've spent several hours cleaning my house to make it presentable (this is NOT a normal feature of my life!). I hope they will appreciate the difference between our two cultures and living styles. An essential part of my day is a "plodge in the clarts" round our local daily dog-walking circuit. I figure we'll provide the wellies - they'll need them for the muddy fields.

I plan to round off the day with some home cooked, traditional English dishes. I'm thinking "Steak and Kidney Pie and Chips" (that's fries to some of you), "Bangers and Mash," but probably not "Spotted Dick," although there may well be custard involved.

More than anything, I'm hoping my American friends will get an idea of everything great about the country which used to be known as Great Britain.

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